So this week Sam found me in the kitchen on our evening to cook for ourselves and our two meal swapper families, cranky and prominently displaying the crease between my eyebrows that he threatens will become permanent if I don't stop worrying. He knew I had a hard day, so he took the recipe from me, started cooking and asked me if I wanted to take a nap. Have I mentioned that he's crazy wonderful? So, dear blog reading friends, I did not cook any of this meal. It was DEEPLY satisfying, for more reasons than that fact (but I must say, not cooking didn't hurt). I found the recipe for the sweet potato/kale/pork sausage over here and the asparagus/parmesian/lemon zest right here. Each dish had a combo I never knew could be so grand: sweet potato and dijon mustard and parmesan and lemon zest. I never would have stumbled onto those mixtures myself. They seem kinda counter intuitive to me, and before you mustard phobes write that first dish off: Sam doesn't really like mustard either and LOVED it. He kept asking me if I thought it was my favorite dish ever (because I think it might be his).
So, Sam and I met on eharmony. You know that, right? But before Sam knew for sure that he needed to meet me in person and then marry me, I continued to virtually meet other people (because he was...even though I completely knew from eharmony's version of "hello"...I guess I didn't want to waste my "3 months for the price of one" deal). And for those of you who aren't familiar with the process, you go through a couple steps of guided questions before you can throw caution to the wind and just freely email each other. Well, one nice young man I "met" asked me what I thought of gender roles in one of those guided question sessions that only allowed a sentence answer in return. As the girl who single handedly held back the protests of a high school debate class full of southern bells when I delivered my thesis on why beauty pageants were destructive to society, I thought this question merited a deeper discussion than the 10 word max afforded. So I told him I liked my gender roles with butter...I never ended up hearing exactly what he meant by that question, because Sam started to catch on that we were meant for each other...
Fastforwarding to our fourth year of marriage, Sam and I certainly don't have it all figured out, but I am thankful every day to be with someone who deeply respects me and my gifts, believes in me more than I do myself quite often, and refuses to put me in a box. There are certainly ways we fit some traditional roles...he fixes stuff, I vacuum, but we each respect the other as the wonderfully mysterious, stereotype defying person we get to have a lifetime and more to know. It's a pretty grand reality for a girl from a little pocket of the traditional south, where in my experience, gender roles were often held as sacrosanct and deviations sometimes counted as downright blasphemy.
This week has been one of counting my blessings in that regard, not only for my dear husband, but for our thoughtful community of friends who make a point to live out their gifts, sometimes alongside and sometimes defying cultural norms (like our stay-at-home-dad friends who proudly and passionately are so engaged in their kid's education that they choose to homeschool) and specifically the examples of guy friends who valiantly protect the dignity of their female sisters. I am truly fortunate to be in such good company.